Elusive pieces to the puzzle
Yes, the Madison Square Garden faithful have seen all-time legends of the sport play on Broadway. Mark Messier, Wayne Gretzky, Jaromir Jagr, Brian Leetch, Phil Esposito, and a bevy of Hall of Fame names that headline the sport’s most God-like careers.
But, Panarin and ZBad are different considering the landscape of today’s salary cap era NHL, which is vastly different than it was in days gone by. The current one-two punch, are the talents fans yearned for through the glory days of the 2010s when the team was a superstar short of winning at least one Stanley Cup.
While the Rangers had some complete teams of seasoned veterans and secondary scorers under John Tortorella and Alain Vigneault, there never was an elite offensive talent to wield against the top teams. Marian Gaborik and Rick Nash had short-lived peaks in blue. Mats Zuccarello wasn’t that guy despite all those years he was the team’s leading scorer. A deficiency the Blueshirts couldn’t overcome when they needed that little extra at crunch time.
The current high-performance duo are the puzzle pieces the New York has been missing since the league entered its new era. Now Jeff Gorton has those key pieces. It’s paid off well for the New York Rangers to go from the league’s oldest team on paper to the youngest in four seasons.